Protecting fragile ecosystems

Conserving fragile ecosystems
Protecting fragile food webs
Reducing vulnerability of ecosystem niches
Protecting vulnerable ecosystems

The Nicosia Charter, 1990 was adopted by the governments of 15 Mediterranean countries, the EU, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and UNEP in Cyprus, April 1990. The contracting parties agreed to identify vulnerable areas in the Mediterranean Basin and to develop by 1995 conservation plans for seriously threatened biotopes. The EU will, together with the World Bank, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and UNEP, commit financial and material resources to achieve by 2025 an environment in the Mediterranean Basin that is compatible with the requirements of sustainable development. The Charter commits the EU, the financial institutions and the countries to undertake five new tasks, to take eight priority actions, to provide the necessary finance, to mobilise technical assistance and to raise public awareness. The priority actions agreed under the Charter cover all aspects of environmental concern, from identifying and protecting vulnerable coastal zones, nature conservation, waste management, reafforestation, disposal of solid and toxic wastes, permanent monitoring of the ecosystem and maritime traffic, energy and water saving and a range of programmes to share information between all countries.

The contracting parties have pledged to achieve sustainable environment in the Mediterranean region by 2025. However, this will largely depend on the cooperation of both the national governments and the various sectors in the countries that will be involved in implementing the various measures. New tasks under the Charter include granting executive powers to environmental institutes, integrating environmental strategies into development programmes, establishing legal and regulatory frameworks to enforce regulations and to ensure that development plans include environmental commitments, assessing the environmental impact of development programmes, and adopting financial incentives and disincentives to improve integrated management of the Mediterranean environment. A long-term strategy and action plan are to be drawn up to specify how the objectives of the Charter will be achieved. Progress will be reviewed every two years. The EU, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank have committed approximately $1500 million to implementing the Charter.


Large bodies of water bounded by several countries (Caspian Sea, Lake Victoria) are especially vulnerable to irreversible damage.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 15: Life on Land